DAILY DIGEST, 7/21: Where are the new reservoirs funded from Prop 1?, State Water Board considers resolution on racial equity; What is the future of WOTUS for farmers?; The Western drought is worse than you think. Here’s why; and more …


On the calendar today …

  • MEETING:  The State Water Board will meet at 9am.  The State Water Board will hear two matters from the Administrative Hearings Office: Consideration of a proposed Order on the pending petitions of the County of Sacramento and the Sacramento County Water Agency to change waterright Licenses 1062 and 4060 (Applications A001061 and A014494), which authorize diversions of water from the Sacramento River in Sacramento County, and related issues regarding whether these licenses should be revoked.  (Proposed Order here); and Consideration of a proposed Order denying petition for reconsideration of Order WR 20210001 (Simoni ACL) (Proposed Order here)Click here for the full agenda and remote access instructions.
  • MEETING: The California Water Commission will meet at 9:30am. Agenda items include Water Storage Investment Program Eligibility Requirements, State Water Project Briefings: Infrastructure Management, and Presentation on Groundwater Rights Law.  Click here for more information.
  • FREE WEBINAR:  WEBINAR: Tap into federal funding: Leverage HUD Section 108 loans for resilient water infrastructure plans from 12pm to 1pm.  Part of WaterNow’s ongoing Tap into Resilience series this webinar will explore how local leaders can leverage Housing and Urban Development loans for innovative water infrastructure investments. WaterNow’s Tap into Resilience initiative provides water leaders resources they need to invest in affordable, climate resilient solutions to meet a broad range of water management challenges. This webinar will feature one of these investment options— Housing and Urban Development’s Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program. This federal loan program can be used to address community resilience projects aimed at benefiting low- and moderate- income communities, and for organizations looking to improve water systems, eligible projects include waterfront fortification, green infrastructure improvements, and water infrastructure improvements.  Click here to register.
  • WEBINAR: SCWD’s Doheny Desalination Project from 12:30pm to 1pm.  The Doheny Ocean Desalination Project will provide a high quality, locally controlled and drought-proof water supply, all while protecting the environment.  This month’s Industry Insight webinar will provide an overview of the critical steps that have taken place in the past two years to move the Project forward towards full-scale implementation.  As one of the largest, and potentially one of the more critical projects ongoing in the County today, this presentation will explore some of the most important issues facing us all.  Click here to register.

In California water news today …

California voters OK’d billions for water projects. Where are the new dams, reservoirs?

None of the major water storage projects being funded by Proposition 1, the 2014 water bond, will be able to provide short-term relief for California’s worsening water situation.  They’re all still in the pre-construction phase: reviewing environmental impacts, designing dams and nailing down financing to pay for the costs the state won’t handle.  “Anybody who thought we would have a new surface reservoir by now from the 2014 water bond doesn’t understand how … that kind of project happens,” said Ellen Hanak, a water expert at the Public Policy Institute of California. ”Those are not overnight projects.”  In other words, California, for the time being, is going to have to make do with the overtaxed portfolio of dams and reservoirs built in the last century as it confronts the escalating threat from climate change. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: California voters OK’d billions for water projects. Where are the new dams, reservoirs?

SEE ALSO:

State Water Board considers resolution on racial equity

Racial equity may soon become a guiding principle at a powerful state agency that helps mediate water disputes and directs taxpayer investments in troubled Central Valley water systems.  A draft resolution pending before the State Water Resources Control Board would condemn systemic racism, xenophobia and white supremacy while committing the agency to making racial equity, diversity, inclusion and environmental justice central to its work. Inspired in part by nationwide demonstrations following the May 25, 2020 in-custody death of George Floyd, the resolution is partly aimed at increasing minority representation among the board’s base of employees and supervisory staff. But it would also require state actions toward dismantling systems that perpetuate racial inequities, including in project permitting, enforcement, funding and administering of water rights. … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: State Water Board considers resolution on racial equity

What is the future of WOTUS for farmers?

The U.S. District Court in South Carolina dismissed a challenge to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule written during the Trump administration and granted a remand without vacatur, ensuring the rule remains in effect until the Biden administration finalizes a new rule. Agricultural groups are engaged in litigation across the country to defend the NWPR and are pleased with this key legal victory, yet recognize more work remains as the new administration forges ahead on making its own mark on regulating water.  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Scott Yager says the NWPR is a major improvement to what he called the “widely overreaching 2015 Waters of the United States” – known as the Obama-era WOTUS rule. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: What is the future of WOTUS for farmers?

Shasta River habitat restoration builds salmon’s resilience to rising temperatures

Many species, such as salmon, rely on cool waters to survive during the hot summer months. But with temperatures rising due to climate change, these cold-water habitats are being threatened. In California’s Shasta River, a NOAA-supported habitat restoration project is helping to keep waters cool for salmon.  The Shasta River is an important tributary of the Klamath River, which was once the third largest salmon-producing river on the West Coast. Historically, the Shasta River supported more than 80,000 salmon each year. Today, however, only up to a few thousand adult salmon return to the river each year. … ”  Read more from NOAA here: Shasta River habitat restoration builds salmon’s resilience to rising temperatures

UNR researcher looks at harmful algae blooms

The EPA has reported several dog and livestock deaths due to toxic algae blooms found in riverbeds. A researcher from UNR is examining what conditions cause these blooms.  … Blaszczak has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Her research will be focused on three rivers in Northern California and will be conducted through 2023. … ”  Read more from KUNR here: UNR researcher looks at harmful algae blooms

‘Eat Less Water’: How your diet can have a big impact on water use and waste

Water is part of nearly every aspect of the farm-to-table supply chain. So how can people eat food that takes less water to grow, clean and prepare?  Florencia Ramirez, author of “Eat Less Water,” found that one way to cut water consumption is by buying organic and seasonal food, whether at farmer’s markets or your local grocery stores.  But even before making those trips, Ramirez says that the main priority should be cutting down on food waste because food that ends up in a landfill wastes a lot of water.  … ”  Read more from KCRW here: ‘Eat Less Water’: How your diet can have a big impact on water use and waste

Questions remain after apartment tenants tap into fire line during water main break

The water is back on at a South Bay apartment complex, but a big question remains: what was in the pipes from which tenants obtained gallons and gallons of water to use in their bathrooms and kitchens and possibly to drink?  Tenants at the Foxdale Apartments were without water from Saturday until Monday after a buried water main broke. During that time, some tenants tapped into an emergency fire sprinkler supply line to get water. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Questions remain after apartment tenants tap into fire line during water main break

Radio show: ‘Where There Once Was Water’: How the driest places are finding innovative ways to conserve

Through her new documentary, “Where There Once Was Water,” Brittany App introduces innovative ways to conserve water, restore ecosystems, and reconsider our relationship with the natural world. The film follows her venturing through California and the Southwest in search of people practicing wise water management.   “How can we help those who don’t have the means to still have access to clean drinking water? Because clean drinking water is — and if it’s not, it should be — a human right. Not every human being needs to water their golf course, right? But we all need to be able to drink clean water. So I think we are entering a time where we will be forced to really think about this and probably restructure the way that we’re doing things.” … ”  Read/Listen at KCRW here: Radio show: ‘Where There Once Was Water’: How the driest places are finding innovative ways to conserve

In California drought and wildfire news today …

In California’s agricultural heartland, thousands of wells could soon run dry

“One day last month, water in the community of Teviston, about 66 miles south of Fresno, suddenly stopped flowing. The town’s services office fielded calls from residents who said their taps ran dry, and when city leaders opened their own faucets, nothing came out. Soon, officials realized  that the town’s main well had stopped working.  Crews sent a video camera below the ground to investigate what might have happened. Frank Galaviz, 77, said dirt and debris was discovered in the pumps.   “Something happened down there,” he said. … ”  Read more from PBS News Hour here: In California’s agricultural heartland, thousands of wells could soon run dry

The Western drought is worse than you think. Here’s why

It has lasted longer than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  It’s dropped water levels perilously low at two of the nation’s largest reservoirs, forced ranchers to sell off herds and helped propel scorching wildfires.  And worst of all, the drought blanketing the western United States is not going away.  A group of experts featuring federal and state officials and farmers and ranchers spent nearly three hours yesterday chronicling the devastation caused by drought conditions that now cover almost every inch of seven Western states. Half of the U.S. population lives in a drought-stricken area. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: The Western drought is worse than you think. Here’s why

Drone photos reveal the shocking truth of California’s parched landscape

As the West descends deeper into drought, climate and water experts are growing increasingly alarmed by California’s severely shriveling reservoirs.  Photos of Lake Orville, Lake Folsom, Trinity Lake and Shasta, taken by Times photographer Brian van der Brug using a drone, unveil the harsh reality of the Golden State’s not-so-golden drought.  On Monday, Shasta Lake — the largest reservoir in the state — held a scant 1.57 million acre-feet of water, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, or about 35% of its capacity. Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center, said “everybody should be concerned” by what they’re seeing. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Drone photos reveal the shocking truth of California’s parched landscape

Video: Californians scramble for fresh water as taps, wells run dry

The severe drought across the Western U.S. is already causing long term problems, exacerbated by the warming atmosphere driven by climate change. As William Brangham reports from California’s San Joaquin Valley, the demand for water has threatened the drinking supply for hundreds of thousands of rural residents — including the farmers who grow a significant part of the country’s food supply.”  Watch video or read transcript from PBS News Hour here: Californians scramble for fresh water as taps, wells run dry

California drought: Here’s how to use 15% less water

Gov. Gavin Newsom asked California residents this month to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15%. What does this number mean for an average Bay Area household?  Based on 2020 estimates, an average Bay Area household of three individuals spends about 206 gallons of water per day. Reducing water use by 15% would mean using about 30 gallons less water per day. … ”  Read more from the Mercury News here: California drought: Here’s how to use 15% less water

Why Southern California has largely been spared by the state’s worst drought conditions

Los Angeles received less than half its average rainfall last year, most of the state is in a drought emergency, and Governor Gavin Newsom has asked all residents to reduce their water usage by 15%. But a stroll through any well-watered neighborhood in Southern California would suggest otherwise.  “I don’t think there’s quite the urgency, and we haven’t had our politicians step up this time, [and] the voice of the drought hasn’t been amplified as much at this point,” says Nick Setyal, who lives in South LA’s Windsor Hills neighborhood. His dry and brittle brown yard stands out among his nearby houses with neon green lawns. … ”  Read more from KCRW here: Why Southern California has largely been spared by the state’s worst drought conditions

Drought has desperate ranchers asking: “Can I feed tomorrow?”

California may only be one year into the drought, but its toll feels much bigger to San Joaquin Valley livestock operators.  “It’s as bad as we’ve seen it in probably 15 years,” said Andrée Soares, president of Star Creek Land Stewards, Inc. “Animals have to be fed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s the biggest concern.”  Soares has about 6,000 sheep and goats. She’s based in Los Banos on the west side of the valley but her animals are often spread up and down the state doing targeted grazing for fire prevention.  Soares doesn’t know where her animals will be in the next few months or how they will eat. … ”  Continue reading at SJV Water here: Drought has desperate ranchers asking: “Can I feed tomorrow?”

Avocado farmers have lighter crop amid drought

Avocado growers haven’t been feeling the heat as much this year, but they sure have been feeling the lack of precipitation.  “We haven’t had a severe heat wave or a severe couple days of heat, like we’ve had in the past couple of years,” said Will Pidduck, who grows avocados and citrus in Ventura County. “So we’ve got that going for us.”  However, he added: “We’re just severely dry after going through a winter where we got barely 4 inches of rain. We started the season dry. You’re almost playing catch-up all season.” ... ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Avocado farmers have lighter crop amid drought

Has water scarcity caught up with almonds?

Has double-digit growth within the California almond industry ended? Will last year’s 3.1-billion-pound crop be the largest on record? Is the industry ready to open a new chapter centered around something other than year-over-year record crops?  Every year the news was pretty much the same from the Almond Board of California – predictions of double-digit annual growth as industry insiders talked up new markets and pointed to impressive numbers from the monthly position reports. … ”  Read more from the Western Farm Press here: Has water scarcity caught up with almonds?

Plummeting reservoir levels could soon force Oroville hydropower offline

A major California hydroelectric power plant could soon stop generating power amid worsening drought conditions.  According to state water officials, the Edward Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville could go offline as soon as August or September — a time frame that would coincide with a feared power crunch this summer. The plant, which opened in the late 1960s, has never been forced offline by low lake levels before.  “I think it’s a bit shocking,” said Jordan Kern, a professor at the department of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University. “The fact that it’s projected to go offline just speaks to how severe the drought is,” said Kern, who studies how power grids are impacted by extreme weather. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Plummeting reservoir levels could soon force Oroville hydropower offline

Insufficient rain has California fires burning hotter than normal, UC Davis professor says

UC Davis Climate Modeling Professor Paul Ullrich says without sufficient rain, fires are burning much hotter than normal.  “There’s not a lot of moisture left in the ground,” Ullrich said. “It leaves the forest and any vegetation that’s on the ground in a state where a single spark can easily set off an inferno.”  In some cases, it sets off severe weather patterns.  “Dry lightning is when you have a storm which doesn’t have accompanying precipitation,” Ullrich said. … ”  Read more from CBS Sacramento here: Insufficient rain has California fires burning hotter than normal, UC Davis professor says

On California’s coast, black abalone, already vulnerable to climate change, are increasingly threatened by wildfire

” .. In February, Wendy Bragg, a marine ecologist and doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with other scientists from Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network or MARINe, retrieved 200 endangered black abalone from areas along Big Sur’s coast. Heavy rain had washed over land scarred by California’s worst fire season on record, creating large debris flows that barreled off cliffs and slammed into rocky intertidal habitat. The landslides buried some black abalone alive and destroyed rocky shoreline preferred by the marine snail, which is endemic to California and Mexico. An arsonist is believed to have caused the Dolan Fire that scorched Big Sur, but Bragg, who has a background in fire ecology, believes black abalone, a species already vulnerable to disease, warming ocean waters and ocean acidification, may face increasing threats related to fire. … ”  Read the full article at Inside Climate News here: On California’s coast, black abalone, already vulnerable to climate change, are increasingly threatened by wildfire

Essay: The fires California grieves—and needs

Lenya Quinn-Davidson writes, “On a recent Sunday, I lay alone by my favorite hometown swimming hole, taking in the familiar sensations of the South Fork Trinity River. The hot sun, the light up-canyon wind—sending mist over me each time it swirled past the falls—the buzz and clicking of grasshoppers, the distant sound of trucks passing by on the rural highway above. I looked down at my body and thought how remarkable it was that I’m still me, all these decades later, and the rocks and the trail and the river are still here, moving through time with steady grace. I hadn’t returned to this remote spot in years, but it still felt like home.  Beyond the river corridor, though, things were stark and unfamiliar. … ”  Read more from Zocalo Public Square here: Essay: The fires California grieves—and needs

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In commentary today …

Growing food is essential, reasonable use of water

Chris Scheuring, senior counsel for the California Farm Bureau, writes, “Amid historic heat and drought, California’s rivers and creeks dwindled early this year. Many, if not most, of our reservoirs are at exceptionally low levels. And this year we are faced with a novel challenge: The evidence suggests that snowmelt increasingly evaporates or soaks into the ground before reaching reservoir systems.  Our water supply difficulties deepen, and demand bold policy initiatives.Chief among them is addressing the need for new infrastructure and water storage to accommodate hydrology that is likely to be more rainfall-based and may result in longer dry spells punctuated by more intense, if shorter, wet periods. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Growing food is essential, reasonable use of water

California taxpayers OK’d reservoir funds. Why is Newsom avoiding water storage projects?

State Senator Jim Nielsen writes, “When it comes to spending on water infrastructure to enhance water supply, protect farmers’ livelihoods and provide safe and affordable drinking water to California’s nearly 40 million residents, this state has flubbed it repeatedly.  Californians desperately need Gov. Gavin Newsom to step up and be the solution, not the problem.  The state has failed to invest appropriately in large, statewide surface-water storage and conveyance, leaving California ill-prepared for drought conditions and jeopardizing its environmental and fiscal health. … ”  Continue reading at the Sacramento Bee here: California taxpayers OK’d reservoir funds. Why is Newsom avoiding water storage projects?

The thirsty West’s dreaded water crisis is here

David Von Drehle, author and former editor-at-large for Time Magazine, writes, “To grow up in the American West in the 20th century was to swing between inferiority and hubris.  Our history books taught us that all great and elevated events happened back east. We should go there someday and study the monuments. At the same time, there was a sense — an understanding, as it turned out — that the East might be the past but the West was the future. We had the energy. Our restlessness would be transformative. We had the breathtaking real estate and the vivid weather: mountains to climb up and ski down, beaches to bask on and everywhere cerulean skies. Our ornery libertarian pragmatism would alter American politics. … ”  Read more from the Washington Post here: The thirsty West’s dreaded water crisis is here

Column: Apocalypse, cow — our growing drought and the great L.A. cattle escape

Columnist Gustavo Arellano writes, “The great cow escape happened on a late June evening. Forty cattle made a break for it through the streets of Pico Rivera in a sprint for their lives. What ensued wasn’t exactly a chase out of “Fast & Furious” or, more appropriately given the stakes (or is it steaks?), “To Live and Die in L.A.” …  And so here is where the big ol’ nerd in me takes a brief detour from the cattle’s fate to transport you to mid-19th century L.A. to explain what cows tell us about a monster that’ll be chasing after all of us soon. The drought. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here: Column: Apocalypse, cow — our growing drought and the great L.A. cattle escape

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In regional water news and commentary today …

In historic drought year, water shortages predicted for these Shasta County communities

With the North State’s drought reaching historically severe levels, thousands of Shasta County residents from Happy Valley and Redding to Palo Cedro could face water shortages by the end of summer.  The lack of rain and snowfall this past year has left officials scrambling to find new sources of water to get through the dry season. And while some agencies, such as the city of Redding, have enough to go around, others are not as confident.  The Bella Vista Water District, which serves about 20,000 residents in Redding, Palo Cedro and Bella Vista, could come up short of water this summer, said David Coxey, the agency’s general manager.  “We will absolutely, completely run out of water. The question is by how much. … ”  Read more from the Redding Record-Searchlight here: In historic drought year, water shortages predicted for these Shasta County communities

Colusa, Glenn Groundwater Authorities to host meetings to discuss Colusa Subbasin

The Colusa Groundwater Authority (CGA) and Glenn Groundwater Authority (GGA) will host two meetings next week to discuss the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).  “Against the backdrop of the critical drought, these meetings will engage the public about future groundwater management to improve long range local sustainable conditions,” it was stated in a release issued by Colusa Subbasin.  According to the release, both agencies are required to prepare a Groundwater Sustainability Plan(GSP) for the Colusa Subbasin under the SGMA. ... ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Colusa, Glenn Groundwater Authorities to host meetings to discuss Colusa Subbasin

Corning approves emergency infrastructure businesses use of city water

Businesses in and around Corning that provide critical emergency infrastructure and are without water due to the drought, dry wells and other reasons, are now allowed to use the city’s water through Aug. 13.  The policy was unanimously approved by the City Council during its July 13 meeting and is added to the emergency policy already in place when the council approved emergency water usage for residents who are suffering from dry wells.  City Manager Kristina Miller explained to the council that since the time it had allowed residential emergency use of city water, the city had been approached by a few commercial businesses that reported being without water to close to it. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Corning approves emergency infrastructure businesses use of city water

Colusa County officials urge drought preparedness and domestic well reporting

California is currently experiencing its driest year on record since 1977, and local groundwater levels are at an all-time low.  So low, that Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency in 41 California counties, including Colusa, in May related to the current drought conditions across the state.  Local officials are urging residents with wells to prepare for the drought by determining the condition of your well, testing water quality in your well regularly, and stockpiling enough bottled water for a minimum seven-day household supply, developing a family plan to address potential well outages as well as a plan to supply water for pets and livestock in case of a well outage and communicate your drought preparedness plans with your neighbors so you can better work together. … ”  Read more from the Appeal Democrat here: Colusa County officials urge drought preparedness and domestic well reporting

S.F. embraces aggressive new climate change goals as drought, heat and wildfires engulf California

San Francisco set new, more ambitious climate change goals Tuesday, including getting to net zero greenhouse gas emissions produced in the city by 2040, as wildfires, drought and heat waves worsened by climate change plague California and floods in Europe grab headlines.  The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an update to the environment code that pledges the city will cut its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 61% below 1990 levels by 2030. The city wants to reduce emissions generated outside city borders for products consumed in San Francisco – such as the carbon footprint of SFO air travel – by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. … ”  Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: S.F. embraces aggressive new climate change goals as drought, heat and wildfires engulf California’

Monterey Peninsula water officials reluctantly agree to pay for buy-out study

Officials with the Monterey Peninsula water district begrudgingly agreed Monday to pay for a feasibility study requested by an intergovernmental body that has control over the future of the district’s plan to take over California American Water Co.  The board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District during its regular meeting Monday approved up to $70,000 to pay for a study that was in effect ordered by the Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, that will analyze the district’s ability to deliver water as well as having the financial wherewithal to buy out Cal Am. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Monterey Peninsula water officials reluctantly agree to pay for buy-out study

Water wells drying up in Tuolumne County

Many of the drought-related challenges witnessed in Tuolumne County back in 2014 and 2015 are emerging once again.  The county is in the early stages of a potentially concerning trend over the coming months.  Office of Emergency Services Director Dore Bietz coordinated a presentation on local drought conditions at today’s board of supervisors meeting. Related to the recent dry spell, she noted that last March the federal USDA designated 50 counties in California as “primary natural disaster areas” due to drought. On May 10, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a Statewide Drought Emergency noting there are risks of water shortages in many communities if drought conditions continue into next year. On July 8, Newsom then issued an Executive Order asking all Californians to voluntarily conserve water use by 15-percent. … ”  Read more from My Mother Lode here:  Water wells drying up in Tuolumne County

Not quite at 2015 level, but Tule River low

When it comes to the water year this summer, it could be referred to as a season on the brink.  Tule River Water Master David De Groot announced on Monday water from the Tule River began to be run off over this past weekend. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to have a long water run off,” De Groot said.  De Groot said the water runoff will last 30 days through mid-August. He added the Tule River’s flow was just at 15.6 percent of normal.  The Success Lake storage is now just above 15,000 feet. After the runoff is completed, De Groot said Success Lake will be down to around 7,000 feet. That’s the lowest level the lake will be at since the dire drought of 2014-2015. … ”  Read more from the Porterville Recorder here: Not quite at 2015 level, but Tule River low

Bakersfield: Once green, Beach Park turns brown as well that supplies irrigation water stops pumping

The grass has faded from green to gold to a dull brown at Beach Park, one of the city of Bakersfield’s most visible parks.  It means there’s no turf on the soccer field, the baseball field or anywhere else in the 26-acre park at 24th and Oak streets.  “It’s frustrating for me to see the grass die and have the park in that condition,” said Bakersfield City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, whose ward includes Beach Park.  According to city spokesman Joseph Conroy, the well that supplies irrigation water to the park has been down for several weeks, since late May or early June. ... ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here: Bakersfield: Once green, Beach Park turns brown as well that supplies irrigation water stops pumping

LA Controller demands answers to sewage spill that closed down South Bay beaches

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin sent a letter to LA Sanitation and Environment on Tuesday, July 20, demanding answers about the cause and impact of a 17 million-gallon sewage spill early last week that temporarily closed beaches from El Segundo to the southern end of Playa del Rey.  “This catastrophic accident not only did great damage to our local beaches and water, but also undermined the public’s trust in their government’s ability to serve them and keep them safe,” Galperin said. “Residents have the right to know exactly why the sewage spill happened, its impact on the area, the cost to taxpayers and what steps will be taken to prevent another similar incident in the future.” … ” Read more from the Whittier Daily News here: LA Controller demands answers to sewage spill that closed down South Bay beaches

After months, a harmful algae that takes days to remove may finally be out of Newport Beach

A foreign and invasive algae has threatened local marine life along the coast of Newport Beach for months before government officials removed it. City, state, and federal officials began removing the algae just two weeks ago after a local diver first discovered the algae invading local waters in March.  In May, the City of Newport Beach declared a state of emergency over the algae’s potential harm for coastal habitat. It only took a matter of days to remove the harmful species. … ”  Read more from the Voice of the OC here:  After months, a harmful algae that takes days to remove may finally be out of Newport Beach

Record drought in Western U.S. means elevated fire risk in Southern California

While Southern California has been spared the worst impacts of the drought so far this year, the region’s vulnerability to wildfires and water shortages is expected to grow in the coming months — and decades.  The Western United States is experiencing its most extensive drought on record, with 89% of the region in a drought and 57% getting an “extreme” or “exceptional” designation from the National Integrated Drought Information System, a multi-agency entity led by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. … ”  Read more from the San Bernardino Sun here: Record drought in Western U.S. means elevated fire risk in Southern California

Padre Dam water district looking into tax liens for delinquent customers

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District Board of Directors, which last week reinstated late fees and water shutoffs, plans to put tax liens on 73 delinquent accounts.  The item is on the consent calendar of the board’s meeting on Wednesday.  The district, which had given customers a grace period during the pandemic, said it is owed more than $280,000.  “This is a normal practice for us and we are obligated to collect fees for services in order for us to stay in compliance with state law,” said General Manager and CEO Allen Carlisle. “We can’t have one ratepayer group subsidize another.” … ”  Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune here: Padre Dam water district looking into tax liens for delinquent customers

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Along the Colorado River …

Tucson is leading the nation in reclaimed water use

In a state that is as drought-prone as Arizona, taking advantage of every drop of water is essential. The City of Tucson’s reclaimed water program is doing just that. The program has become a model for other cities across the U.S. and around the world that have limited water resources. ... ”  Read more from Channel 12 here: Tucson is leading the nation in reclaimed water use

Lake Powell curtails houseboats, starts extending boat ramps amid drought, low water levels

Lake Powell is in emergency mode. Record drought this year has accelerated the decline in water levels at the massive reservoir behind Glen Canyon Dam, and officials are taking unprecedented steps to deal with the rapidly changing conditions.  On Thursday, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area announced it would be rehabilitating and extending launch ramps to accommodate boat launching during low water conditions. … ”  Read more from The Spectrum here: Lake Powell curtails houseboats, starts extending boat ramps amid drought, low water levels

Remediation work at canceled US border wall construction sites begins in Yuma

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors on Thursday started the process to clean up the border wall construction sites along the U.S.-Mexico border that President Joe Biden paused when he took office in January.  The remediation work at unfinished construction areas signals the conclusion of a four-year effort by the previous administration of former President Donald Trump to expand wall construction using nearly $10 billion in diverted military funds. Trump cited an emergency at the border.  … ”  Read more from Arizona Central here: Remediation work at canceled US border wall construction sites begins in Yuma

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In national water news today …

Fix aging water infrastructure, Senate told

California Farm Bureau, as part of a national coalition representing thousands of western farmers, ranchers, water providers, businesses and communities, urged leaders of the U.S. Senate to take action to address the shortcomings of aging water infrastructure.  Citing an “acute and critical need” magnified by another all-too-familiar drought, the coalition sent a letter last week to Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It called for increased federal investment in water infrastructure.  “California Farm Bureau joined with 200-plus organizations in a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Joe Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso, stating federal investment in a diversified water management portfolio that serves a broad range of water uses must be included as essential infrastructure in the next legislative package,” said Sara Arsenault, California Farm Bureau director of federal policy. … ”  Read more from Ag Alert here: Fix aging water infrastructure, Senate told

Water sector white-knuckled as infrastructure debate drags

President Biden has made getting lead out of America’s drinking water a focal point of his infrastructure package and environmental justice push, but advocates say that goal is looking more daunting given the fractious nature of ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has vowed to hold a vote today on the bipartisan infrastructure package that’s still being hashed out despite the lack of legislative text and mounting Republican complaints.  As it stands for water, Senate negotiators have said the overall package will likely borrow heavily from S. 914, a bill that passed the upper chamber in April with broad support but is only worth $35 billion, including $100 million annually for five years for EPA grants to reduce lead and boost testing. … ”  Read more from E&E News here: Water sector white-knuckled as infrastructure debate drags

Passage of energy infrastructure act celebrated by ag and water groups

The Energy Infrastructure Act was recently passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 13-7. The legislation includes several provisions that will assist with some of the water concerns in the Western United States. A sizable coalition of agricultural and water groups issued their support for the bill’s advancement. Supporters include the California Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers, Family Farm Alliance, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), and the National Water Resources Association. The coalition is now encouraging swift action from the full Senate to move forward on the bill. … ”  Read more from Ag Net West here: Passage of energy infrastructure act celebrated by ag and water groups

White House details environmental justice plans

The Biden administration is beginning to work out the thorniest questions of its environmental justice agenda.  In a draft guidance document obtained exclusively by E&E News, the White House details how federal agencies should begin the process of ensuring that at least 40% of the benefits from federal energy and environmental spending reach disadvantaged communities.  Known as the Justice40 Initiative, the framework has already emerged as a source of some friction among the Democratic political coalition. Who counts as disadvantaged, what a benefit means and how to count them will remain ongoing questions. In a nod to those tensions, the administration is emphasizing that the public will still have ample chance to shape the answers.  … ”  Read more from E&E News here: White House details environmental justice plans

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Today’s featured articles …

GUEST ARTICLE: Water Forum 2.0: Updating the Sacramento region’s landmark water deal

An interview with Water Forum Executive Director Jessica Law on climate change, equity and shaping a groundbreaking agreement for the next 20 years

Article written by Matt Weiser

Click here to read this article.


BLOG ROUND-UP: Who’s getting unreasonable water allocations in CA?; Can the Newsom administration be considered “progressive” on water resources?; PETA weighs in on Newsom’s water conservation plea; The Garcia: A river in strong recovery after a 30-year effort; and more …

Click here to read this article.

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Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

NOTICE: Staff Workshop On Proposed Emergency Curtailment And Reporting Regulation For The Sacramento-San Joaquin Watershed

YOUR INPUT WANTED: Delta Stewardship Council’s Public Participation Plan

YOUR INPUT WANTED: Instream Flow & Water Level Conservation Training Center – Survey Request – Aug 6, 2021 Deadline

WATER PLAN eNEWS: ~~BayCAN Guide~ Extreme Heat~ Farm Recharge~ Irrigation Webinar~ Climate Change~ Waterway Trash~ Water Rights~~

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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